Loyalty points programs have gone through a myriad of changes since the first one was introduced by American Airlines 30 years ago.
Today, there are programs for just about everyone, whether you travel extensively or not. But travellers especially are likely to belong to a number of loyalty-points programs ranging from auto rental to hotel to specialty credit cards.
A recent survey suggested the average number of loyalty cards we hold is close to at least fifteen.
Like you, they may not easily be able to use them during their working careers, even though they may have dedicated themselves to certain brands in the belief they would use them.
While my mother was not much of a traveller she did use her Airmiles Reward Miles card whenever she could. After she passed away my sister and I were able to split the points in her account quite easily after supplying the official documentation required.
Aeroplan, until recently, did not make it that easy to transfer the points, even to surviving spouses.
They recently made changes that will, in part at least, be very much appreciated. Known as the estate transfer policy, the spouse or surviving residual heirs of the estate will be able to redeem outstanding balances for a period of 12 months from the declaration of death once they too have supplied supporting documentation.
However, transferring miles to an existing account will be more costly. After you pay a processing fee of $30 plus taxes Aeroplan will charge a penny for each transferred mile.
A person with 200,000 to 300,000 points will face an invoice of $2,000 to $3,000, which seems like an unreasonable penalty to pay for points that were earned fairly by the deceased for being a loyal client.
The idea that the only way not to be faced with this transfer fee is to engage in a some sort of celebration of the original point-holder’s death by having to go on a series of trips to utilize the remaining points within the one-year period seems punitive, if not perverse.
While Aeroplan has taken a step in the right direction, I hope they will look seriously at walking the entire mile of emotional understanding in the near future.
However more recent actions have seen Aeroplan announce they will soon take away points that are older than 7 years.
Many save points for half a lifetime, at the rate you can collect them if you are not a serious traveller, to use them later for their trip of a lifetime.
This is so unfair.
Point holders should think of redeeming their points for merchandise, which by the way is no deal, if they are not going to be able to use them for travel.